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Air purification and dust protection on construction sites

2 min read
Heylo Insights Content construction worker dust

Regulations prohibiting the spread of harmful substances in the air we breathe have been in place for a long time. However, some craftsmen still do not realise that even ordinary construction dust is classified as harmful to health because it almost always contains quartz and often hardwood dust.

Dust on building sites – a health hazard

Dust is released during almost every operation of a tool or machine. Smaller particles enter the air as airborne dust and take a relatively long time to settle. The finer the particles, the longer they remain in the air and the more harmful they are to health.

Coarse dust mainly remains in the mouth and throat. It is coughed up and carried away through the mucus. It is the fine dust that penetrates deep into the lungs and alveoli. If the alveoli are overloaded with dust, employees become short of breath and the body's oxygen supply deteriorates. Performance decreases and sick leave increases. Dust-related lung diseases usually develop slowly and can hardly be cured. With the argument that it has always been done this way, sensible improvements are often rejected. But this is not always clever. Often it is the customer who attaches importance to a low-dust working method.

Filtering air cleaners

Air cleaners are a must in the equipment inventory of every construction or renovation company. They reduce dust in the workplace to a minimum. If hazardous substances are involved, there are penalties if the filter is missing. The simplest option for filtering exhaust air are transport fans, which are fitted with a cassette filter on the intake side or a dust bag on the exhaust side. M-class filters are available for both variants. Paint mist can additionally be extracted with a cassette filter. If filtration according to dust class H is required, air cleaners are used. These units are used in the remediation of, for example, old CMF, asbestos or mould. In contrast to transport fans, these units have much finer filter material, filter change indicators and much tighter closing housings. The high-performance filter PowerFilter 3500 by Heylo is very efficient with its high air performance of 3,200m³/h and can be used in many different ways by connecting up to 3 hoses and using different filters.

However, air cleaners are also used for normal construction dusts with M-class filters. BG Bau promotes the purchase of tested devices if they have a two-stage filter system and a filter change indicator. It must be ensured that sufficient filter effect remains even when the filters are almost saturated. Accordingly, a 15-fold air change rate is required for building dusts. For many other pollutants, an air exchange rate of 6 to 8 times is sufficient. This means that the air performance of the unit must be able to circulate the room volume 6 or 8 times with the filter material used. For this purpose, it makes sense to keep the room volume as small as possible by using dust protection walls. If the area is very large, several air cleaners must be operated together.

Dust protection walls

If tools and equipment cannot be processed without releasing dust, the working area should first be reduced to the necessary minimum. Flexible dust walls made of construction foil and telescopic poles are quick and easy to erect. They limit the spread of dust to a small area. This means that any extraction system can be installed with much less effort. In addition, the area that needs final cleaning is much smaller. Contamination in unaffected rooms can be excluded. The special feature of flexible dust protection walls such as the "Heywall" are the telescopic poles. The head plates have clamping devices that hold the construction foil and later fix it to the ceiling of the room. The sheeting that hangs down is fixed a second time under the support legs. If the poles are set up and aligned at a distance of about 1.50m, the result is a durable and impermeable partition. Normal rooms can be partitioned in a good ten minutes by a single person without a ladder, battens or nails. Compared to a lath construction, this results in a considerable time saving. The dust protection wall appears even more advantageous if the time saved is taken into account during the final cleaning.

Another possibility is to seal off the room. By connecting the air cleaner to the Heylo dust protection door DCD 3.0, you get an efficient dust protection complete system. The dust protection door seals off the working area from the white area, the air cleaner creates a negative pressure in the working area and can even, by connecting air hoses, extract the dust and dirt directly at the point of origin. The practical air purifier can also be used in mould remediation – by simply replacing the fine dust filter (F9) with a HEPA H14 filter.

Dust protection is a confidence-building measure

In view of the advantages in the areas of occupational health and safety, protection of occupants and adjacent rooms, securing the renovation goal and the good feeling among customers, the time and cost involved in professional dust protection measures is almost marginal. In the end, professional air pollution control measures create trust with the client.

For professional dust control advice contact the Heylo sales team.

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